I'm writing about a video I watched at the moment. I want to ironically describe "having had the privilege of watching it". The video is terrible, hence my writing about it, so I'd like to put something in front of "privilege" to describe that feeling.

Any ideas?

  • 3
    The doubtful privilege?
    – WS2
    Sep 28, 2014 at 19:28
  • 6
    Aha! That brought me here: thesaurus.com/browse/doubtful which provided me with 'dubious'. Thanks.
    – Matt
    Sep 28, 2014 at 19:36
  • 2
    Yes, "dubious" is probably the best term. This has the advantage of waffling enough that you can't quite be accused of direct criticism, but any reasonably English-literate reader will get the implication.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 30, 2014 at 20:03
  • When I read the title of your question, I instantly thought irony. Of course I did not know then that you need to write about it.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Oct 1, 2014 at 7:25

7 Answers 7


The usual way to phrase it is to state that you had the dubious honor/pleasure/distinction (or yes, privilege) of viewing the wretched video.

  • @Matt In fact, since it sounds like you watched the video without somebody in authority giving you permission or making you do it, "dubious honor" would probably be a better choice of words than "dubious privilege". Sep 30, 2014 at 15:59
  • That's a good point @Panzercrisis, I'll consider that instead. It does seem more correct.
    – Matt
    Sep 30, 2014 at 16:54

You can say that you "had the unfortunate privilege" of watching it.

You can see a lot of examples of this phrase on Google.


Another good example is "misfortune".

  • This is the right answer for this question. "dubious privilege/honor" implies some degree of exclusivity, however dubious. For simply describing an unpleasant experience, "misfortune" is the way to go.
    – JLRishe
    Sep 29, 2014 at 18:33
  • 8
    I agree with your reasoning but doesn't using misfortune lose the irony?
    – Matt
    Sep 29, 2014 at 19:42
  • misfortunate opportunity
    – Mazura
    Oct 1, 2014 at 7:42
  • In terms of keeping the irony, it's all in how you say it. Nonverbally you can also use something like "good misfortune" to carry a hint of irony.
    – Eric
    Oct 1, 2014 at 17:53

What would You say about "dubious privilege"?


A colloquial way of accomplishing your goal might be this:

I had the... ahem... "privilege" of watching...


You can actually be ironic without adding an additional word and, if the context, vocal tone and articulation is clear, this is often the best way to go about it.

"Don't bother going to see Jaws 17 at the cinema"
"Yeah, I had the privilege of watching that last week".

  • Yes, Jaws 17 was awful, but Jaws 19 is looking to be very promising next year, when things get really really personal. (...and, now I feel old.)
    – RLH
    Oct 1, 2014 at 11:11

Disadvantage is the most basic way to express this concept. (However, to achieve the irony that seems to be wanted in the original question, dubious privilege is excellent, as suggested by others.)

  • A lot of irony is conveyed in how something is said, so I upvoted this answer, because the single word disadvantage works.
    – pazzo
    Oct 1, 2014 at 5:18

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